Bumble Co-founder Whitney Wolfe Herd Becomes World’s Youngest Female Self-Made Billionaire

Following the much-touted IPO of dating app Bumble, its CEO and co-founder Whitney Wolfe Herd ended the day as a billionaire with a net worth of $1.5 billion.

The 31-year-old’s 12% stake in the company was worth $1.6 billion as of 12:40 pm EST on Thursday. The Bumble CEO owns 21.54 million shares according to the company’s own portfolio which constitutes 11.6% of the company. Bumble had been expected to open on the floor at around $43 per share, but it was clear it was going to be a good day for the online dating app and its CEO when Bumble stock opened at $76 when the company debuted shortly after the markets opened. The end of the day saw Bumble stock closing at $70.31 securing Wolfe Herd’s place among a small but elite group of self-made female billionaire businesswomen.

The day also marked another record broken for Whitney Wolfe Herd. In addition to becoming the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire, the IPO of the company she co-founded means that she also has the honour of being the youngest female CEO ever to take a company public in the US.

Bumble has had a stellar last 12 months, reporting $417 million in revenue in the first nine months of 2020, which marks a huge increase from $363 in 2019. The IPO saw the company raise $2.2 billion in addition to helping its CEO set records. It is believed that the majority of the funds raised will be used to buy back shares from its pre-IPO owners, well known private equity firm Blackstone, who had owned as much as 91% of the company prior to Thursday’s IPO. It is also likely that some of the money may be used to redeem shares from Wolfe Herd herself. The success marks not only a major achievement but some relief for Wolfe Herd after she agreed to forfeit around $95 million worth of Bumble shares to secure a loan in 2020.

Wolfe Herd will hope that the IPO allows Bumble to continue its march in the online dating sphere, an area previously ruled by the dating giant match.com who also own Tinder, Wolfe Herd’s former employer. There is an element of bad blood between the two. Wolfe Herd sued Tinder for sexual harassment, alleging that her former boss and then-boyfriend, Justin Mateen, had sent threatening and derogatory communication and removed her co-founder status at the popular dating app. The case was quickly settled in a confidential agreement, although Tinder consistently denied any wrongdoing. Not put off by the world of dating apps, Wolfe Herd used the experience to launch Bumble in 2014, promoting it as a dating app where women make the first move.

A jubilant Wolfe Herd tweeted: “Today, @Bumble becomes a public company. This is only possible thanks to the more than 1.7 billion first moves made by brave women on our app – and the pioneering women who paved the way for us in the business world. To everyone who made today possible: Thank you. #BumbleIPO.”

While it hasn’t all been plain sailing at Bumble with the fallout from claims of misogyny directed towards Wolfe Herd’s Bumble co-founder Andrey Andreev, Bumble has made quite the impression with a blistering first day on the trading floor, leaving not only a record-setting female CEO but a bright future.

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